It can be exhausting keeping up with the rapidly undulating mass that is the London Beer scene. We’re now up to 82 breweries, which we know thanks to the tireless efforts of the folks behind Beer Guide London. One thing that’s interesting, though, is that this number doesn’t count the growing number of brewers that don’t actually own their own brewery.
Whether they’re brewing on borrowed kit or hiring equipment at an outfit such as UBrew, the number of these so called ‘gypsy’ brewers based in London is steadily increasing and I find this as fascinating as I do exciting. New outfits such as Old Kent Road Brewery and Beatnikz Republic are people who have full time jobs, devoting the majority of their spare time to the art of brewing beer. I for one can’t wait to see wait they come up with. The ultimate dream for these guys would be to turn their side projects into a full-time gig. When it comes to gypsy brewing, the likes of Denmark’s Mikkeller and New Zealand’s Yeastie Boys have been leading by example for some time now.
I’m now going to attempt to tenuously link my opening paragraphs into today’s beer. Gipsy Hill is of course not a gypsy brewer, but they are based in Gipsy Hill, South London. As a brewery, Gipsy Hill’s focus is on producing low strength, ‘pintable’ beers that pack in a lot of flavour. Its session IPA, Hepcat, is the perfect example of this.
Hepcat reeks of tangerine and pink grapefruit that both translate onto the palate on tasting. There’s melon in here too, and an almost bready softness that cleans this beer up in the finish. It effortlessly achieves everything that Gipsy Hill’s mission statement so boldly claims. One thing’s for certain; this new wave of gypsy brewers have got some high standards they’ll need to match if they’re to compete with London’s already well-established set.
Music Pairing: Tubeway Army – Me! I Disconnect From You
Our last music and beer event at Hop Burns & Black was a blast. The only downside was that I really wanted to play a Gary Numan track but sadly the ones I wanted to play fell just outside of the 80s – and we were committed to playing some of the best 80s electronica on the night.
Well, good news. Next week I’m off to Manchester for Manchester Beer Week and I’m taking the format of this event with me. On Friday 17th I’ll be hosting a tasting in the basement of The Beermoth, where I’ll be pairing some incredible beers with my favourite post punk tracks of the late 70’s and early 80’s. Check out full details of the event here.
Of course, I’ll be back at Hop Burns & Black for another night of beer and music-related fun very soon – and you’ll be the first to know when that is. Until then, enjoy this live performance, which proves that, when he was at the top of his game, our Gazza was one of the greatest frontmen, ever.
You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis at his excellent beer blog, Total Ales, and Good Beer Hunting, and on Twitter @totalcurtis. And you can get Gipsy Hill Hepcat delivered to your door via our online shop.